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Jesus, the New Testament, and Christian Origins
Perspectives, Methods, Meanings
Dieter Mitternacht and Anders Runesson, eds.
Foreword by David E. Aune

HARDCOVER; Published: 2/25/2021
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6892-3
Price: $ 65.00
730 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 7.5 x 9.5
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An introduction to the New Testament in its historical context, with an overview of interpretative approaches and exegetical exercises 

In this up-to-date introduction to the New Testament, twenty-two leading biblical scholars guide the reader through the New Testament’s historical background, key ideas, and textual content. Seminarians and anyone else interested in a deep understanding of Christian Scripture will do well to begin with this thorough volume that covers everything from the historical Jesus to the emergence of early Christianity. The contributors stress the importance of Christianity’s emergence within and from Second Temple Judaism. 

Unique to this book is a special focus on interpretative methods, with several illustrative examples included in the final chapter of various types of scriptural exegesis on select New Testament passages. Readers are guided through the hermeneutical considerations of a historical text-oriented reading, a historical-analogical reading, a rhetorical-epistolary reading, argumentation analysis, feminist analysis, postcolonial analysis, and narrative criticism, among others. These practical, hands-on applications enable students to move from an abstract understanding of the New Testament to a ready ability to make meaning from Scripture.

Table of Contents

Foreword by David E. Aune
1. Invitation to Study the New Testament
2. Historical Background and Setting
3. The Historical Jesus
4. The Texts
5. The Emergence of Early Christianity
6. Readings
Appendix 1: Nonbiblical Sources
Appendix 2: Jewish History: A Chronological Overview
Appendix 3: Maps

“Panoramic in scope, sensitive in exposition, richly informed by illustrative detail: Jesus, the New Testament, and Christian Origins offers the reader a wonderful introduction both to the field of New Testament Studies and to the ancient world from which its texts sprang.”
— Paula Fredriksen
author of From Jesus to Christ: The Origins of the New Testament Images of Christ
Jesus, the New Testament, and Christian Origins is an impressive multi-authored work that combines several discrete subdisciplines: the history of New Testament scholarship; the political, social, and literary milieux within which early Christianity originated and developed; New Testament introduction and theology; early church history; and methods of biblical interpretation. Although a collective effort, the work is clear and coherent, reflecting strong editorial leadership. Special strengths include comprehensive reviews of current scholarly thinking on major interpretative issues such as Life-of-Jesus research, the ‘new perspective’ on Paul, the ‘parting of the ways,’ and the delineation of six identifiable streams of early Christian thought. Ample bibliographies, along with numerous diagrams, tables, and boxes of supplementary material, enhance its pedagogical value. A remarkable synthesis that deserves to become a ‘pull-down’ book for biblical scholars, theological students, and pastors.”
— Carl R. Holladay
Emory University
“Classroom reader, comprehensive encyclopedia, exegetical handbook, and more, this engaging, up-to-date volume attends to issues that mattered both in antiquity and today, including Jewish-Christian relations, gender and sexuality, the Roman Empire, and the means by which texts and interpretations become authoritative. A splendid achievement.”
— Amy-Jill Levine
Vanderbilt University
“The editors and contributors of this book are to be congratulated for producing a unique and invaluable volume, containing an enormous amount of essential, up-to-date information for the interpretation of the New Testament. Here students will not only learn of the history of the New Testament, but also discover helpful paths through the dense thicket of contemporary hermeneutics—all excellently done and attractively presented.”
— Donald A. Hagner
author of The New Testament: A Historical and Theological Introduction
“Mitternacht, Runesson, and their contributors have produced a magnificent introductory textbook on the earliest social, historical, and textual contexts of devotion to Jesus, with due attention given also to the intricacies of interpretation. This book is comprehensive and authoritative, but never at the expense of accessibility. I will be assigning this book to my students at the first opportunity.”
— Chris Keith
St. Mary’s University, Twickenham
“New Testament scholarship is and has always been international and multilingual. Consequently, for more than a decade now, one of the very best introductions to the New Testament has been available only in Swedish: Dieter Mitternacht and Anders Runesson’s Jesus och de första kristna (2006). But now, thanks to Rebecca Runesson and Noah Runesson’s deft translation, this revised and expanded edition of the book is accessible to those of us who speak English but not (yet) Swedish. The twenty-two contributors are a who’s who of Scandinavian biblical scholarship, and the emphasis on hermeneutics as well as history is an especially inspired feature.”
— Matthew V. Novenson
University of Edinburgh
“Whereas the vast majority of introductions to the New Testament are more than content simply to describe the contents and contexts of the twenty-seven documents that comprise the same, in Jesus, the New Testament, and Christian Origins, twenty-two skillful, Scandinavian scholars, led by editors Dieter Mitternacht and Anders Runesson, not only orient students to the New Testament and its bewildering world but also illustrate how these fascinating texts can continue to be interpreted and appropriated in variegated ways. The upshot of this expansive, extensive edited volume is nothing less than a valuable, accessible reference resource for those who are wanting and willing to grapple with the meaning(s) of the New Testament.”
— Todd D. Still
George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University
“This wonderful book expertly invites students into the academic study of the New Testament, not simply surveying the contents of the New Testament, but also introducing the historical contexts that gave rise to these writings and their collection into a canon. Best of all, it will empower students to dive into New Testament interpretation by modeling various methodological approaches to its study.”
— Matthew Thiessen
McMaster University
“Not a New Testament introduction in the usual sense, this impressive text nonetheless provides a well-paved, well-lit path into serious New Testament study. The authors cultivate historical, textual, and readerly interests, all in the service of equipping their own readers with competence and confidence for interpreting these canonical texts.”
— Joel B. Green
Fuller Theological Seminary
“This unique introduction to early Christianity provides a textual resource without parallel for academic courses concerned with a comprehensive, multidimensional treatment of the historical study of early Christianity in all its complexity.”
— David E. Aune
from the foreword
Review of Biblical Literature
“Presents itself as a rich and complex work for its scientific and didactic value.”